Mr Shapps warned that the rapid “lateral flow” tests were “not quite there” with the “specificity” required to be approved by the government to avoid quarantine, but the technology was “improving” and companies were aiming for the new year to meet “required standards”.
As part of the December 15 program, travelers arriving in the UK will be able to book their day five tests in advance from a list of approved companies to be published by the government.
They should include fast loop-mediated isothermal (lamp) amplification tests, which cost up to £ 80 and return results within an hour, and ‘standard’ polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which will cost up to £ 180.
Travelers are supposed to be able to post their tests, go to private test sites, or have them mailed. Mr. Shapps was skeptical of the pre-departure testing, however.
He also announced £ 100million in financial aid for airports, up to £ 8million for each site. And he signaled that cruise vacations could return in the New Year if the industry agrees to cover repatriation costs.
The movements were well received by the aviation industry.
Karen Dee, Managing Director of the Airport Operators Association, said: “UK airports have been among the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic and these announcements are a much needed boost as aviation seeks to recover from the pandemic. biggest challenge she has ever faced.
Tim Alderslade, Managing Director of Airlines UK, the industry association representing UK registered carriers, said: “This is an extremely welcome step that will begin the process of opening up international travel and restarting aviation. British. This is a good start and by cutting the quarantine period by more than half we should see demand temporarily return and more routes and destinations become viable again.
That said, a day 5 test does not remove the quarantine and that is why we look forward to working with the government to move to a pre-departure or nationwide testing regime that can safely eliminate the need for self-isolation. completely, as quickly. as possible.
“This is the only way for us to completely reopen the market. But, with the announcement, the light is now at the end of the tunnel not only for UK carriers and aviation, but also for consumers looking to get away from it all this Christmas and beyond. ”
Henry Smith, Chairman of the Future of Aviation Group, said: “The announcement of a Covid-19 testing regime for international travelers is good news for our aviation, travel and tourism sectors; it will allow commercial air travel to resume with confidence once the restrictions are lifted. It also brings the necessary clarity and certainty that will be essential for the recovery of these sectors after the deeply damaging effects of this pandemic. “